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Baton Rouge Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge recently passed new regulations on short-term rentals (STRs) like Airbnb and Vrbo that will go into effect in August 2023. The new law, known as ordinance 16370, defines STRs as rentals for less than 30 consecutive days and requires hosts to register with the city for a lodging tax license or use a STR marketplace like Airbnb that collects taxes for them.

Existing STRs operating before the law goes into effect can continue operating as long as they meet the new requirements by August 1, 2023. The ordinance also sets occupancy limits - for owner-occupied rentals, hosts can rent out all bedrooms except one, while whole-home rentals are limited to 2 people per bedroom and must meet parking requirements of 1 off-street space per bedroom.

To start a STR business in Baton Rouge, property owners must:

  • Ensure their property is in an allowed zone and meets all requirements. STRs are generally allowed in residential zones as long as they aren't prohibited by private restrictive covenants.
  • Obtain a $100 permit from the Permits and Inspections Division. Permit numbers must be included in all listings and advertisements.
  • Acquire liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 meeting the city's standards. Proof of insurance is required when applying for a permit.
  • Register to collect and remit lodging taxes or use a platform like Airbnb that does it for them. Hosts are responsible for tax compliance if using platforms that don't collect taxes.
  • Meet safety standards like having smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and exit signage. An attestation that the property meets standards is required for permitting.
  • Comply with occupancy limits and parking requirements or face potential fines and revocation of permit after 3 violations.

The current zoning ordinance doesn't explicitly prohibit STRs in single-family residential zones, so they are generally allowed citywide. However, private restrictive covenants in some subdivisions and homeowners associations may prohibit STRs, so hosts should check their property deed for any restrictions.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Baton Rouge

Under the new law effective August 2023, all STR operators in Baton Rouge must register with the city for a lodging tax license, unless they use a licensed STR marketplace that collects taxes on their behalf. Hosts can lose their permit if they have 3 violations adjudicated by the Planning Commission in a 1-year period.

To obtain a STR permit, property owners must submit:

  • Occupational license or proof of registration with an online STR platform that remits taxes. Airbnb has an agreement with Baton Rouge to collect city taxes, but hosts on other platforms need their own tax license.
  • Proof of commercial general liability insurance policy with a minimum limit of $1,000,000 meeting the city's requirements.
  • Attestation that the property meets safety standards including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and exit signage.
  • Floorplan showing the number and location of bedrooms to be used for rental.
  • Parking plan showing 1 off-street space per bedroom if required for whole-home rentals.

The STR permit application costs $100 and must be renewed annually. Once issued, the permit number must be included in all listings and advertisements for the rental property.

Required Documents for Baton Rouge Short Term Rentals

To register for a STR permit in Baton Rouge, hosts will need to provide:

  • Proof of $1,000,000 commercial general liability insurance policy naming the city as additional insured
  • Attestation that the property meets safety requirements including smoke detectors in each bedroom, carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguisher, and exit signage
  • Floorplan clearly showing number and location of all bedrooms to be used for rental
  • Parking plan showing 1 off-street parking space per bedroom if required for whole-home rentals
  • Lodging tax license application or proof of registration with tax-collecting STR platform like Airbnb

In addition to the documentation required for permitting, hosts must also maintain guest registration records including names, addresses, dates of stay, number of guests, and rates charged. These records must be kept for at least 3 years and made available to the city upon request.

STR listings and advertisements must include the city permit number and specify the occupancy limit. If the property is accessible for guests with disabilities, that information must also be included in listings.

Baton Rouge Short Term Rental Taxes

STRs in Baton Rouge are subject to lodging taxes including:

  • 5% Baton Rouge sales tax
  • 4% Baton Rouge hotel occupancy tax
  • 4.45% Louisiana state sales tax
  • 1.45% Louisiana stadium and exhibition hall tax

In total, the combined tax rate for STRs in Baton Rouge is 15.9%. Hosts must collect these taxes from guests and file regular lodging tax returns, unless taxes are collected for them by their STR platform.

Airbnb has an agreement with Baton Rouge to collect and remit both city and state taxes for reservations booked through their platform. However, hosts using other platforms like Vrbo are responsible for registering for city and state tax licenses and handling lodging tax compliance on their own.

Failure to comply with tax requirements can result in fines, penalties, and revocation of the STR permit. The city has the authority to audit hosts' records to ensure taxes are being properly collected and remitted.

Baton Rouge-wide Short Term Rental Rules

Key STR regulations that apply citywide in Baton Rouge include:

  • All STRs must be registered and licensed with the city via a $100 permit renewed annually
  • Owner-occupied STRs can rent out all bedrooms except one to guests
  • Whole-home STRs limited to 2 people per bedroom, must provide 1 off-street parking space per bedroom
  • 3 violations of STR ordinance in a year can result in revocation of permit
  • Lodging taxes totaling 15.9% must be collected and remitted to city and state
  • Commercial general liability insurance of $1,000,000 required, naming city as additional insured
  • Safety standards must be met including smoke detectors, CO detectors, fire extinguishers, exit signs
  • Occupancy limits and accessibility info must be included in all listings and advertisements
  • Guest registration records must be maintained for 3 years and available for city inspection

Does Baton Rouge strictly enforce STR rules?

Based on discussions among hosts on forums like Bigger Pockets and Reddit, it seems Baton Rouge does intend to enforce its new STR regulations once they go into effect in August 2023. The city has the ability to revoke permits after 3 violations in a year and impose fines for noncompliance.

However, compared to some other cities, Baton Rouge's rules are not as strict - whole-home rentals are allowed with some limitations, unlike in New Orleans which only permits owner-occupied STRs in residential zones. Many hosts seem optimistic they can continue operating profitably under the new rules.

Some key enforcement mechanisms in the new law include:

  • Requirement for all STRs to be registered and licensed with the city
  • Ability for city to revoke permit after 3 violations of ordinance in a year
  • Occupancy limits and parking requirements that can be verified by city inspectors
  • Requirement to collect and remit lodging taxes, with city able to audit records
  • Potential fines of up to $500 per day for operating without permit or violating ordinance

So while Baton Rouge may not be as aggressive as some cities in cracking down on STRs, the new regulations do provide tools for the city to take action against hosts not in compliance. Responsible hosts who follow the permitting and operational requirements likely have little to worry about in terms of strict enforcement.

The city has said it will work to educate hosts and help them comply with the new rules before resorting to fines and permit revocations. STR operators who make a good faith effort to meet the standards should be able to avoid major enforcement issues.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Baton Rouge

Here are the key steps to start a short-term rental business in Baton Rouge under the new regulations taking effect August 1, 2023:

  • Check your property is in an allowed zone for STRs and not prohibited by private covenants or homeowners association rules.
  • Obtain commercial general liability insurance policy with minimum $1,000,000 limit meeting city requirements. Policy must name city as additional insured.
  • Ensure property meets safety standards including smoke detectors in each bedroom, carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguisher, and lighted exit signage.
  • Apply for $100 STR permit from city Permits and Inspections Division.
  • Register to collect and remit lodging taxes totaling 15.9% or sign up with tax-collecting STR platform like Airbnb. If self-collecting, obtain city and state sales tax licenses.
  • Maintain detailed guest registration records including names, addresses, dates of stay, number of guests, and rates charged. Keep records for minimum 3 years.
  • Include city permit number, occupancy limits, and accessibility info in all listings and advertisements.
  • Collect lodging taxes from guests and file regular tax returns, unless using tax-collecting platform.
  • Comply with all STR regulations including occupancy limits and avoid violations to maintain permit.
  • Renew STR permit annually and update city on any changes to property or operations.

By following these steps and operating responsibly, hosts can start a successful STR business in Baton Rouge under the new regulatory framework. While the permitting and tax collection requirements add some initial costs and ongoing work, the city's rules still allow for profitable short-term rentals in most cases.

Who to contact in Baton Rouge about Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

For questions about Baton Rouge's STR ordinance, permit application, taxes, and enforcement, contact:

City of Baton Rouge Permits and Inspections Division
1100 Laurel Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 389-3226
Email: permitsandinspections@brla.gov
Website: https://www.brla.gov/2177/Short-Term-Rentals

For zoning and land use questions related to STRs, contact:

City of Baton Rouge Planning Commission
222 St. Louis Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 389-3144
Email: planning@brla.gov
Website: https://www.brla.gov/648/Planning-Commission

What do Airbnb hosts in Baton Rouge on Reddit and Bigger Pockets think about local regulations?

On the Bigger Pockets forums, Baton Rouge hosts have been actively discussing the new regulations, with many seeing them as reasonable and manageable compared to STR rules in other cities. Some key points mentioned:

  • Relief that whole-home rentals are still allowed, just with occupancy and parking rules, unlike in New Orleans
  • Sense that responsible hosts who follow the rules can operate successfully under new regulations
  • Concerns about increased costs and work involved in licensing, tax collection, and insurance requirements
  • Questions about how strictly rules will be enforced and if city will target rule-breakers

One host shared their experience getting a permit under the new system:"I just went through the process of getting permitted in Baton Rouge. It took some time to gather all the required documents, but the city was helpful in answering questions. Inspection was quick and easy. As long as you meet all the requirements, it's very doable."Another host weighed the pros and cons of the new regulations:"

Yes, it's more red tape and expense than before. But I'd rather deal with reasonable rules than have a free-for-all that eventually leads to an overly restrictive crackdown. If we self-regulate as an industry, it's better in the long run than fighting all regulation tooth and nail."

On Reddit, the Baton Rouge subreddit has several threads discussing the new STR rules, with local hosts sharing tips and experiences. Notable comments include:

  • Advice to apply for permit as soon as possible before rules take effect to be grandfathered in
  • Mentions of nearby parishes like Livingston and Ascension with fewer regulations for hosts looking to invest in new STR properties
  • Discussions of how rules may impact different property types like condos, townhomes, accessory dwellings
  • General sentiment that diligent hosts can adapt to new regulatory landscape, even if it takes more work

One Redditor shared their thoughts on the permit process:"I was surprised the permit was only $100. Expected it to be more. The liability insurance requirement is no joke though. That's going to add a big expense for a lot of hosts who were skating by without it before."

Another host expressed support for the new rules:"I'm actually in favor of the regulations. It's going to weed out some of the bad actors and make it a more level playing field for those of us doing things the right way. Yeah, it's a little more work, but nothing unmanageable."

Overall, it seems many Baton Rouge STR operators see the new regulations as workable, even if they require some additional effort and cost to comply with. Hosts who educate themselves on the rules and take the necessary steps to get permitted seem confident they can continue to run successful STRs under the new system.ShareRewrite

⚡️
Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.